Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC Thunder | Game #1 Preview: Rockets

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

Tip-Off: 7 PM CT

Location: Toyota Center (Houston, Texas)

Television: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal

Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live-tweets and discussion during the game

The Oklahoma City Thunder ended their 2019-20 campaign almost 4 months ago when they were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets, and now they take on the Rockets to kickoff the 2020-21 season.

Both teams look significantly different than they did when they last met, but no team in the league experienced as much of a shakeup as the Thunder. Chris Paul and Steven Adams were traded to different teams, Danilo Gallinari signed with the Atlanta Hawks as a free agent, and only a handful of players that were on the roster in September remain there today.

Meanwhile in Houston, Russell Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards for John Wall, and James Harden has requested a trade to a more legitimate contender. The argument could be made that Houston has actually improved their roster, but with an unhappy superstar, there is no telling what could happen with their organization moving forward.

This season is going to be a new experience for many Thunder fans. Wins are unlikely to come as often, and the playoffs really aren’t anywhere near a possibility. Still, the future is bright in Oklahoma City, and while this season may not be one full of winning, it needs to be full of player development and experience.

Projected Starters

Thunder

  • PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • SG: George Hill
  • SF: Luguentz Dort
  • PF: Darius Bazley
  • C: Al Horford

Rockets

  • PG: James Harden
  • SG: Eric Gordon
  • SF: Danuel House Jr.
  • PF: P.J. Tucker
  • C: Christian Wood

Injuries

Thunder

  • Trevor Ariza is OUT (not with team)
  • Ty Jerome is OUT (left ankle; sprain)
  • Thรฉo Maledon is OUT (not with team)

Rockets

  • Chris Clemons is OUT (right achilles surgery)
  • DeMarcus Cousins is OUT (sprained right ankle)
  • Kenyon Martin Jr. is OUT (not with team โ€” self isolating)
  • Ben McLemore is OUT (not with team โ€” self isolating)
  • Jaeโ€™Sean Tate is OUT (COVID-19 contact tracing)
  • John Wall is OUT (COVID-19 contact tracing)

Head-to-Head

  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 21-22 against the Rockets in the regular season (14-8 at home, 7-14 on the road) and 7-9 against the Rockets in the playoffs (5-2 at home, 2-7 on the road).
  • The Thunder has won the season series with the Rockets 6 times, lost it 4 times, and tied 2 times.
  • The Thunder won the regular season series last season against the Rockets 2-1 (1-0 at home, 1-1 on the road).

Game Notes

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